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Surviving the frozen Colorado, 1931 (access required)

Eighty years ago this month, two intrepid would-be entrepreneurs spent a harrowing 12 days traveling upstream on the ice-choked Colorado River from Lee’s Ferry to Rainbow Bridge, battling frigid waters and the elements in a wooden boat they had found while testing their own steel boat.

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Arizona’s Snow Bowl (access required)

Skiing was introduced to Flagstaff in 1915, probably by a pair of Norwegian immigrants, brothers Ole and Pete Solberg. The Solbergs made skis and started downhill runs on Observatory Hill where the Lowell Observatory was located, very nearly in the center of town.

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A Territorial Christmas (access required)

Christmas time in the 1860s in the Arizona Territory was similar to Christmas in the state of Arizona in 2010. People had feasts, decorated large Christmas trees, children ate candy and townspeople spread cheer by caroling.

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The ‘Convento’ (access required)

South of Congress Street on the west side of the Santa Cruz River near downtown Tucson was a Pima Indian village. This site, at the base of Sentinel Peak — today it is called ‘A’ Mountain — is known to have been inhabited since at least 1000 B.C. Located by a once-flowing spring that emptied into the Santa Cruz, American Indians called the village Stjukson (spelling of the word varies widely; the Spanish transliterated it to Tucson).

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Tent City Hero (access required)

Sporting a pitch helmet, linen suit and big white mutton-chop sideburns, Oliver E. Comstock pedaled his bicycle along Tucson’s dusty roads with a soup kettle hanging from the handlebars. He will never be as famous as Wyatt Earp, but he was a real hero to the residents of southern Arizona’s Tent City.

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The Oasis at a Cultural Crossroads (access required)

For almost two centuries, Spanish missionaries, mountain men, ’49ers, Civil War soldiers and American settlers benefitted from — and often depended on — the plentiful crops and hospitality of the Pima and Maricopa people.

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The questionable Battle of Carrizal (access required)

In 1916, Capt. Charles T. Boyd, Lt. Henry Adair and Capt. Lewis S. Morey, on direct orders from Gen. John “Blackjack” Pershing himself, led their regiments across large swaths of desert to check on a possible buildup of Mexican troops around the small northern Mexican town of Villa Ahumada.

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Tucson’s nymphs de pave (access required)

Maiden Lane bordered Congress Street, and between the two was a stretch of “unholy” land shaped like a thin slice of pie and called the wedge — pictured here in the accompanying turn-of-the-century photo. The red light district was anything but invisible.

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Tombstone’s Boothill Cemetery (access required)

The Boothill Cemetery, which was laid out in 1878 on a rocky hillside facing the Dragoon Mountains, earned the name for a reason. If a body was buried not wearing boots, it meant the person died of natural causes. If the body was buried wearing boots, it meant the person was killed.

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